HC Deb 24 March 1896 vol 39 cc46-7
*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester Forest of Dean)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he is aware that maps have been published by Captain Lugard and others showing the, existence of Belgian posts in the territory leased by Great Britain to the Congo State, and abandoned by that State in consequence of the objections of France; whether, when orders were given in 1894 by Captain Paul Le Marine), one of the Inspectors of the Congo State, to withdraw the three Belgian officers who were in this leased territory in the direction of the Bahr-el-Ghazel, the most distant post commanded by a lieutenant, being 150 miles north of the Upper Welle, the march southward lasted from December 1894 until April 1895; whether information can be given to the House as to the present condition of the large Egypto-Turkish territory thus abandoned by the Congo State; and, with reference to the other leased territory not the subject of French remonstrance, whether Her Majesty's Government continue to regard the lease as binding, and Duffileh and Wadelai as posts properly to be occupied by the Congo State?


The map published in Captain Lugard's work illustrates the expedition of Captain von Kerkhoven, who was killed in 1893. The posts marked, all of which were south of Lado, are understood to have been evacuated for purely local, reasons when the expedition retired. Her Majesty's Government have, however, no information on the subject which is not available to the public. Our information is that there were no posts occupied by Congo State, Forces within the British sphere in the direction of the Bahr-el-Ghazel. No information has been received as to the retirement from posts outside this sphere to which the Question seems to refer. As I stated in reply to a Question on the 17th instant, we have no trustworthy information as to the present condition of the Bahr-el-Ghazel districts. Her Majesty's Government were not a party to, and have not been informed as to, what may have passed between the Congo State and any other Power in regard to the leased territory. They are consequently not at present in a position to state how the leases might be affected thereby. It must, however, be remembered that the portion of the territory in which Wadelai and Duffileh are situated was not leased by the Agreement of May 1894 to the Congo State, but to the Sovereign of that State for the period of his reign.